Kickoff: Sunday, November 6th, 2022, 8:20p Est
Location: GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
Betting Odds: KC -13, 46.5 o/u total via oddhsark.com
Writer: Dustin Ludke (@TheDunit13 on Twitter)
Ryan Tannehill (OUT?/Sit), Malik Willis (Sit)
Ryan Tannehill‘s availability for this week’s game is still up in the air and Friday practice reports will be very telling. He missed last week with both an ankle injury and an illness. I would expect he is over the illness by now. Malik Willis got his first start last week, making me ill watching him. He only attempted ten passes and completed six of them for 55 yards. One of the bright spots in Willis’s game coming out of college was his rushing ability. We saw very little of that in the game, as he only rushed five times for 12 yards. When you add in the fact that he threw one interception and didn’t score, it left a lot to be desired. This week he gets the Chiefs’ defense which has given up the third most points to quarterbacks and fifth to running backs. You would think a rushing quarterback would feast in this matchup but I’m still not recommending starting Willis. He is a full sit. If Tannehill were to play, he would be a Sit but probably end up in the QB2 range.
Derrick Henry (Start, RB1), Dontrell Hilliard (Sit, FLEX)
It sure looked like Derrick Henry is back to being the number 1 running back like he was last season before his injury. Week 7 saw him rush for his fourth straight game of over 100 yards and his sixth career game of over 200 yards. The yardage alone was enough to put him in the RB1 range, but he also had two touchdowns. The Titans have and will continue to lean on Henry. This week against the Chiefs he is a must-start RB1.
Dontrell Hilliard is the backup and last week had a nice game. He only played on 28% of the team’s snaps but got eight carries for 83 yards. Facing a team that is giving up the fifth most points to running backs, he could spell Henry and see close to those eight carries again. You can’t start him unless you are very desperate in your FLEX spot with all the BYEs this week.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Robert Woods (Sit, FLEX), Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (Sit, FLEX), Cody Hollister (Sit), Austin Hooper (Sit)
Things for the Titans receivers can’t get much worse. With Willis under center and only attempting 10 passes, there isn’t much to go around. Let’s imagine a world where the Titans pass a normal amount of the time. Robert Woods is their leading receiver. He has only 34 targets in the season, and yes he has played every game. He will see a lot of coverage for L’Jarius Sneed who rates at 67.9 in coverage. It’s not a great matchup. He might get to WR3 numbers in a normal game but given the low projected volume from Willis, Woods is a FLEX-range player I’m sitting.
You might expect Nick Westbrook-Ikhine to get better coverage with Sneed on Woods. That is true and even though the Chiefs are giving up the third most points to wide receivers, he is a sit this week. He saw ZERO targets last week despite playing on 74% of the team’s snaps. He was shown up on the stat sheet by Cody Hollister who played on 55% of the snaps and at least got a target. He didn’t catch it but it’s still better. Both are sitting this week.
The tight ends aren’t used in a pass-catching role on this offense. Austin Hooper is 4th on the team in targets for the season with 13 and has only run 111 routes. There just isn’t the volume to produce a solid wide receiver let alone a tight end.
Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes (Start, QB2)
Seven games into the season and Patrick Mahomes already has 20 touchdowns. That leads the league, despite Mahomes already having had his BYE week. He is coming off that BYE week which historically hasn’t been great for him but getting an extra week to prepare is always a good thing. He faces a Titans offense that is giving up the tenth most fantasy points to quarterbacks. It’s a great matchup for Mahomes. You are starting him every week. I have him as a QB2 because I believe the Chiefs will get a lead and not have to pass the ball in the second half as much limiting the upside for Mahomes. He has 4 games this year of being in QB1 range and 3 in the QB2 range. Last season he had 11 games as a QB1, 1 as a QB2 and 4 in the sit range.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Start, FLEX), Isiah Pacheco (Sit), Jerick McKinnon (Sit)
The Titans are giving up the tenth fewest points to running back so far this season. It’s not a great matchup for the likes of Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Isiah Pacheco, and Jerick McKinnon. What is also not good are the splits for these three. Only Edwards-Helaire and McKinnon have games this season where they played over 50% of the team’s snaps (C.E.H. with 2) and no one has ever eclipsed 60%. They each seem to have very specific roles on the offense which causes none of them to be fantasy relevant. I’m sitting at both Pacheco and McKinnon this week. I think you can FLEX Edwards-Helaire. He seems to be the goal-line back and has been getting the most carries over the past 3 games. They are coming off the BYE week so who knows what type of plan Andy Reid will have. He did name Pacheco the starter for Week 7 but that ended up not meaning much.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
JuJu Smith-Schuster (Start, WR2), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (Start, FLEX), Mecole Hardman (Sit, FLEX), Kadarius Toney (Sit), Travis Kelce (Start, TE1)
It’s our first opportunity to see Kadarius Toney in a KC uniform. Reports are that he will be worked in slowly as he gets acclimated to the new offense and recovers fully from his hamstring injury. Not knowing what his snap share will be and the fact we haven’t seen him play this season you can’t risk starting him. He will probably be out-snapped by Mecole Hardman, who has been playing on just under 60% of the snaps.
JuJu Smith-Schuster has started to emerge as the wide receiver that people expected him to be when he signed with the Chiefs. He has five games this season where he has seen eight targets and is coming off a two-game scoring streak. His fantasy output will come down to how the Chiefs find ways to get him off the coverage of Kristian Fulton who rates at 69.1 in coverage. Juju is lining up 43% of the time in the slot which should allow him to see weaker coverage. He should be started as a solid WR2 this week.
By some metrics, he is being outdone by Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Juju has more targets (44 vs 35) but M.V.S. has run 240 routes to Smith-Schuster’s 236. It’s a small margin and the former Packer needs to be very efficient on his targets to be fantasy relevant. He is averaging 16.77 yards per catch, making him more of the home run boom/bust type of player. I would start him in my FLEX given the matchup this week.
Tight end Travis Kelce cannot be forgotten about in the offense. Not that any fantasy manager would, but at times it seems the defenses do. He has a way of getting open and finding soft spots in zone defenses. The matchup matters very little here. You are starting Kelce no matter who but I will just put it out there that Tennessee is allowing the 17th most points to tight ends at 11.66. Kelce is your TE1. You have him on your team so you don’t have to think about the position except for his BYE week.